If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. That seems like solid logic, right?
On the surface, it makes sense to not go changing things that have been working. However, without revisiting and updating, anything can become stale and stop serving you. Especially outdated job descriptions.
Job descriptions should be a living document. They should reflect what it’s like to work with your business now, not in the past. What we often find is once the job description is written, people in companies tend to reuse them over and over again. While that saves managers and HR time, it doesn’t always account for the ways that a business has evolved. At some point, many of those old descriptions will become misaligned with the organization’s needs.
So I have to ask this question frequently of hiring managers, company leaders, as well as talent acquisition leaders: Do your job descriptions match up to your current business needs?
One of the first things we teach our recruiters internally or any client we’re working with is to look at the job description while asking questions around what the business needs actually are. It’s not unusual for those descriptions to be misaligned and in need of a rewrite to ensure they have the biggest impact. That ensures you’re attracting the right candidates and getting them into the right roles that will maximize their contribution to the company.
If a candidate reads the requirements of a role, but it doesn’t match up once they get into the interview, they’re going to question whether the company (and you) has their act together. Even worse, if they actually get hired on, they may quickly find the exit and leave you in the costly and time consuming position of having to start the hiring process all over again, potentially repeating the mistake!!
When you’re examining job descriptions, here are some important questions to ask:
- Has this role evolved since this description was written? This is especially important for businesses that have seen massive growth. Small companies often have one person filling multiple roles, but those responsibilities will need to be redistributed with the increased demand of a larger organization.
- What do we actually need in this role? Focusing in on exactly the skill sets needed to get the job done will increase clarity for employees and candidates. You may find that you’ll be able to save yourself some money and headache by recruiting less experienced candidates to fill some roles.
- Does this job description really sell the company? Those descriptions are often the first impression that a candidate will have of your organization. It should get them excited to learn more and apply for the role. If they see bland verbiage or it comes across as a list of red flags, you may be turning off candidates before you ever get a chance to talk to them.
If you find that you’re not attracting quality candidates or that new hires tend to disengage quickly, those job descriptions may be one of the factors working against you. I’d encourage you to not just examine the descriptions of positions you’re actively hiring for. Revisit them for all the roles in your organization. It’ll bring clarity and put you ahead of the game when you do have to recruit new candidates.
Do you need help strengthening your job description? Our team is trained to help with that and is ready to support your business growth.